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One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure

By Beverly Saltonstall

Every one of us is guilty!  Your wife says you are a pack rat, but you know that everything you have saved in your garage will come in handy – someday. Those short lengths of wire, the broken part to your lawnmower that you are going to fix someday, and how about all those windows that you planned on installing in the shed you never built?

Your closets are even worse.  There are entire wardrobes from when you were a size 32, winter shirts that you had to include in your move to Florida, and what about all those Popular Mechanic magazines?

If your weekends are tied up with important things like golf, and you aren’t the type to hold a yard sale, then I have just the solution for you. Consider FreeCycle, the alternative to spending a long weekend getting rid of all the treasures you have been collecting for all those years.

So much of the stuff we collect is too good to throw out, but we really and truly don’t need it any longer. Reusing an item is a much more responsible way to recycle. Remember, one man's junk is another man's treasure.

FreeCycle is a free, non-profit Internet Group that joins people who are either in need an item, or who are looking to get rid of items. FreeCycle has nearly 5,000 groups worldwide, and boasts over 6,000,000 members, so you are sure to find a group near where you live.

The sign up process for FreeCycle is simple. A Google search for the term “FreeCycle will take you to the website, or visit http://FreeCycle.org to sign up for a free account. A volunteer moderator reviews your application and will send you an email when you have been approved for the group.

After you are approved, you can then post "wanted items" or "offers", and wait to be contacted by someone who is interested in the item.

The FreeCycle terms of service are spelled out on the website, and it is advisable to read them. FreeCycle does not allow members to take items for the sole purpose of reselling them. The moderator also closely watches all posts for security issues. Any post with an address or other information deemed to be a security issue is quickly removed. People who consistently do not show up to pick up an item are removed from the lists.

FreeCycle is an absolute boon for recycling. Items that were destined for a landfill are recycled and reused. This is great for the environment, and is helping people at the same time. Very often, newly divorced people are looking for furniture to help them get re-established, or a new mom needs some baby items. Items that you think may be junk, may be just the item someone else is looking for. The neatest thing about FreeCycle is that you never know what may show up on the list. Books, craft supplies, appliances, used ski equipment, carpeting, lumber and computers. The list goes on and is endless.

Two caveats about FreeCycle. Use common sense about safety. Don't allow any strangers in your home if you are alone. If there is any doubt, arrange pickup or delivery of an item in a public place.

Finally, don’t get hooked on always taking items and end up filling up your garage with even more stuff that you will never use. The whole idea in the first place was to get rid all your “treasures”.

About the Author:

Beverly Saltonstall is an environmental writer. Visit http://totalrecyclingwebsite.com for news, podcasts, articles and guides covering many aspects of recycling. To understand recycling, read Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Recycling, But Never Dared to Ask. (available on website)

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